Tesla has released the latest over-the-air update for its Model S
, which includes a number of navigation upgrades designed to cut down on range anxiety by constantly communicating with the brand's burgeoning Supercharger network.
The Paris Motor Show was stuffed so full of dazzling concept and production cars we had to split our photo round-up into separate galleries showcasing French
vehicles and general highlights
. At such a show, it would have been quite easy to overlook a a plain white Kia Optima tucked away in a far corner. However, that low-key car was the base of one of the more interesting technological concepts in Paris: a 48-volt hybrid with electric supercharging.
Hype is so common these days, and the more something is hyped, the more we tend to expect to be disappointed. Not in this case. Kawasaki has been teasing its supercharged Ninja H2R for months now, and still, when the covers came off at Intermot Cologne today, every mind in the room exploded into tiny pieces. In a market where manufacturers are creeping towards 200-horsepower sport bikes, the track-only H2R will make a tendon-ripping 300 horsepower – considerably more than a MotoGP bike and enough to put the fear of God into just about any rider.
Elon Musk has given Model S
owners living on the US/Canadian west coast an early Christmas present with the announcement that its fast-charging “Supercharger” network will now extend all the way from California right up into British Columbia.
Tesla Motors, makers of fine electric performance vehicles, recently surprised the mainstream with news its Model S performance sedan had surpassed Mercedes S-Class, Audi A8 and BMW 7-series in sales for the first quarter in the US. For a company that only released the Model S last June, news of this exponential interest was not only surprising but worked to further validate consumer interest in a fully electric vehicle. On top of the surprising sales figures, media sources like Consumer Reports proclaimed Tesla’s Model S to be one of the “best cars they'd ever tested
”. With positive feedback and increasing sales of the Model S, Tesla has identified an expansion of its Supercharger networks as a critical next step.
Giant-scale model cars (and airplanes) powered by small gasoline engines have been popular with adult racers for quite a few years now. The largest scale models available through conventional RC hobby outlets are one-fifth or one-sixth scale, but the serious racers go quarter-scale. Now the smallest (quarter-scale) blown V8 gasoline engine in commercial production is being turned out by Conley Precision Engines to power.
The 16th Annual Supercharging conference was held last week at the Technical University of Dresden in Germany where many interesting new developments in the critically important field of forced induction were shown. Most motor vehicles only use maximum power for a small fraction of their time on the road, and with downsizing of engines now standard practice for the auto industry, supercharging is an ideal way of providing that power boost from a small engine. We've written previously about Controlled Power Technologies' (CPT) 12 volt electric supercharger
, but it now has a 48 volt version which uses 7 kW of electrical power and delivers (an extra) six to ten times that power at the crankshaft for overtaking and steep hills.
When German performance tuner Novitec decided to squeeze some extra performance from the limited edition Alfa Romeo 8C, it didn't need to look far. The 8c runs the 4.7 liter V8 powertrain of the Maserati GT (both companies are owned by Fiat), so it tapped the technology of its sister company Novitec Tridente, which tunes Maseratis, and came up with a supercharger conversion. In so doing, it created the fastest Alfa in the world.
Looking to soup-up your supercar? The Maserati-dedicated arm of tuning specialists NOVITEC, a company best known for its Ferrari performance enhancements
has turned its attention to the open-top Maserati
GranCabrio. The result is a supercharged engine that puts out 590 hp / 434 kW, peak torque of 572 Nm and a top speed of 301 km/h (187 mph). Hold on to your hat!
German brand Horex hasn't made a motorcycle for 50 years – but since a new ownership team took over the brand name in 2007, plans have been afoot to change that – and at this year's Intermot
in Cologne, we got our first close-up look at what the new owners are playing at. The Horex VR6 is a modern super-naked featuring a staggered six-cylinder engine with forced induction via a belt-drive supercharger. The quick-revving motor will develop up to a meaty 200 horsepower, putting it right up with Yamaha's 2009 V-Max in the musclebike stakes. The new German bike's looks will draw inevitable comparison to Honda's recent CB1100F – and when you combine the looks with the premium pricetag, it's fair to say the Horex VR6 is targeted at cashed-up older riders who will appreciate the retro looks, the comfortable riding position and the seemingly limitless reserves of power that blown 1200cc powerplant is going to pump out. It's great to see forced induction back on the bike shopper's menu!