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Automotive


— Automotive

Ford Explorer America concept demonstrates EcoBoost engine technology

A cute showcase platform for the for the 20-30 percent better fuel economy, lower emissions and no compromise performance promised by Ford's soon to be introduced EcoBoost technology, the Explorer America concept aims to demonstrate the sustainable, flexible future of the company's iconic SUV with fuel-saving features like electric power assisted steering and a multifunctional interior layout that includes single-touch, stackable sliding seats, a work table (complete with seats) that deploys from the tailgate and an instrument panel that integrates a three-dimensional compass navigation unit with a topographical map. Using the turbocharging and direct injection Ecoboost technology, the 4-cylinder 2-liter engine delivers 275 hp and 280 lb.-ft. of torque or, in a 3.5-liter V-6 format, about 340 hp. Read More
— Automotive

The Detroit Fish Amphibious People Carrier

One of the oddest-looking, and most bizarrely named cars at the North American International Auto Show was an amphibious people carrier named the Detroit Fish, along with two other equally eccentric, electric car concepts, named the “Book of Songs” and “Piece of Cloud” respectively. All three come from the design studios of respected Chinese auto designer Li Guangming, who wants to create a unique Chinese design language, and he sees these rounded little cars as a starting point. “There will be no Chinese national cars of significance if the Chinese spirit is absent from their design,” he said. The Detroit Fish has a 3.5kW electric motor and Lithium Ion battery pack, giving a range of 150km and a top speed of 45kmh, making them ideal for “tourist spots, large communities, university campuses and small towns”. Read More
— Automotive

BMW's V8 M3 Convertible

January 18, 2008 The letter M in the model designation of a BMW car has always meant something special, and the newly announced M3 Convertible is no exception – at its heart is a 309 kW 4.0-litre V8 engine, with a focussed sports suspension system and the choice of a six-speed manual or the new seven-speed M double-clutch transmission with Drivelogic to put the horses on the ground. Other manufacturers might create a sports model with a bigger motor and stiffer suspension but the M3 is completely reengineered – indeed, only the doors, three-piece steel roof, boot lid, windows and rear lights are interchangeable with other 3 Series Convertibles. Read More
— Automotive

Mercedes E-Class and smart fortwo demonstrate fuel efficiency on the road to Detroit

January 17, 2008 - Talk about making an entrance – the smart fortwo and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class travelled 4400 kilometres over seven days from Los Angeles to the Detroit Auto Show. In the trip, which aimed to measure fuel economy in real world conditions, the smart fortwo mhd recorded an average fuel consumption of 4.8 litres per hundred kilometres, the two smart fortwo cdis recorded 3.9 L/100 km, and the business saloon E 320 BLUETEC recorded 5.8 L/100 km. Read More
— Automotive

MITSUBISHI Concept-RA takes the stage at NAIAS

More images have emerged of the MITSUBISHI Concept-RA coinciding with its global premiere at the 2008 North American International Auto Show. Using an aluminum space frame body and impact -resistant, recyclable plastic resin for the as engine hood, fenders and other outer panels to reduce weight, enhance fuel economy and improve safety, the sports coupe concept combines Mitsubishi's Super-All Wheel Control system control system and twin clutch automated manual transmission used in the Lancer Evolution X with a turbo-charged, 2.2-liter clean-diesel engine that delivers a maximum output of 150 kW (204 PS) and maximum torque of 420 Nm (42.8 kg-m). In line with the earlier design sketches, the powerful message the car shoots for is accentuated by strongly flared arches housing 21-inch wheels and red is the color of choice for the sporty exterior, contrasting with the matte black engine hood. Read More
— Automotive

The US$80K Fisker Karma luxury plug-in hybrid sports car

January 16, 2008 We’ve written before about the coming of Fisker Automotive and its highly credentialed designer/CEO Henrik Fisker, though we weren’t exactly expecting a hybrid when the premium sports car company announced its first production car at NAIAS. The Fisker Karma is a four-door plug-in hybrid with a solar panel roof, regenerative braking, a light weight body, does 0-60 mph in less than 6 seconds and will have a top speed beyond 125 mph when it goes on sale late in 2009 for a projected US$80,000. The drive train is entirely electric though the car has a small gasoline engine that runs the generator, which charges the lithium ion battery pack. This allows the car to be driven for up to 50 miles a day provided the car is charged every evening. Read More
— Automotive

Audi R8-based concept delivers a flat 1,000Nm torque spread

January 16, 2008 Audi looks set to create a new class of road-going supercar following the first showing of its R8 TDI Concept at NAIAS this week. Using the V12 6.0-liter bi-turbo TDI engine first seen in the forthcoming Q7 V12 TDI SUV, the 6.0-litre twin-turbo V12 with 500 bhp is similar in basic concept to the R10 TDI’s 5.5-litre race engine, and delivers – wait for it - 1,000Nm of torque - between 1,750rpm and 3000 rpm, guaranteeing the effortless delivery of a 4.2-second 0-62mph acceleration time and a top speed in excess of 186mph. The 4WD beauty has a full set of goodies, such as Audi’s magnetic adaptive suspenders, it already meets the proposed EU6 emission limits expected to apply from 2014 and comes with a GPS system that incorporates race circuit information and centrifugal force / boost pressure data when the car is in race mode. Hey guys, you’ve gotta make this one! Read More
— Automotive

Lexus transforms LF-A concept into a roadster

January 15, 2008 In more news from the 2008 NAIAS, Lexus has taken the wraps off a roadster-version of its LF-A sports car concept. The open-top supercar uses a "front-mid" configuration of the high-revving, 500 hp V10 engine from company's LF-A coupe, first unveiled in Detroit back in 2005, and the body is also based on the Coupe's carbon-fiber and aluminum structure with the addition of a speed adaptive rear wing. Read More
— Automotive

The first hybrid technology with a positive ROI

Buying a hybrid is currently a pastime for early adopters and those who are prepared to pay to salve their environmental conscience . Do the return-on-investment (ROI) math and you’ll realize that the fuel savings never bridge the economic rationale gap because of the higher initial cost of hybrids. That appears about to change! Ultra-capacitor-based energy storage systems have long promised a breakthrough for the automotive industry and AFS Trinity’s announcement of the real world performance specs of its plug-in Extreme Hybrid (XH) technology is landmark. In just completed road tests, a 2007 Saturn VUE Green Line SUV fitted with an XH drive train, exceeded 150 mpg, and improved the zero to sixty time from 12.5 seconds, to 11.6 second running in electric-only mode – something it can do for 40 miles at a stretch. The punchline is that in hybrid mode, it runs 0-60 mph in 6.9 seconds, which is faster than a Porsche Cayenne. Whatsmore, based on driving 340 miles a week, the company’s consumer payback analysis suggests the technology will pay for itself in less than four years – this appears to be the first economically viable, commercially-available hybrid auto technology. Read More
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