Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Vehicle

Ford is using wheat straw - a waste byproduct of wheat - to reinforce plastic in the inter...

Ford is the first automaker to develop and implement environmentally-friendly wheat straw-reinforced plastic in a vehicle. Before you get carried away, the car itself, a Ford Flex, isn’t made of plastic, instead, it’s just the third-row interior storage bins made from the natural fiber-based plastic that contains 20 percent wheat straw bio-filler. Surprisingly though, Ford says this application alone reduces petroleum usage by some 20,000lbs per year, cuts CO2 emissions by 30,000lbs per year, and represents a smart, sustainable usage for wheat straw, the waste byproduct of wheat.  Read More

Using the new technology automobiles and aircraft, like this Airbus A380, could harness cu...

Previously, we’ve looked at technology to generate electricity from roads embedded with piezoelectric crystals that produce electricity when squeezed. Now a group of researchers is looking to shift the technology from the road to the vehicles themselves and use piezoelectrics placed on the vehicles to convert their kinetic energy into electricity.  Read More

GRACE incorporates Formula 1 and jet technology in a street legal e-bike

Combining jet fighter technology with Formula 1 grade parts and German build quality, the GRACE street legal electric two-wheeler will start to be shipped in limited numbers next year. As well as offering a couple of city travel options, GRACE is also available in an off-road version too. The company has even manufactured a demonstration-only racy model capable of speeds up to 70kmh (44mph).  Read More

BMW has brought back the C1 as an electric-powered concept scooter called the C1-E

When BMW released their original C1 scooter in 2000 nobody had seen anything like it on the road. And not many C1s were seen on the road after it was released either. In the three years that BMW produced the scooter-with-a-roll-cage, only about 12000 were made. The riding public didn’t quite know what to make of the C1 and BMW never sold as many as it had hoped. Now BMW has brought the urban runabout back as the C1-E concept vehicle with an electric drivetrain. Could it be the C1’s time has come?  Read More

Team OptaMotive members (clockwise from top right: Mark Demers, Mike Nispel, Murat Ozkan a...

From more than 100 entrants, 43 teams and 53 vehicles have now advanced to the most important, and possibly exciting, stage of the $10 million Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize – performance and safety testing. The 43 teams represent 10 countries, 18 U.S. states, and six fuel types and all have passed the fuel-efficiency competition’s Design Judging phase. Vehicles must be able to achieve more than 100mpg or energy equivalent (MPGe), as well as being vehicles that people want to buy, meeting market needs for price, size, capability, safety and performance.  Read More

Bentley's self-leveling wheel badges and other must-have accessories

If there’s one thing Bentley owners detest as much as fingerprints on their door openers it’s recalcitrant wheel badges that refuse to align when the marque has ceased its forward motion. Worse still, they become impossible to read at speed because of their inability to stop spinning with the wheels. Thankfully, Bentley Motors has listened to the anguished cries of its faithful car-owners and has released a range of accessories that include self-leveling wheel badges that right themselves when the vehicle is stopped and can remain upright at most driving speeds. Other accessories include bespoke child seats, embroidered car covers, vented wings and that much-warranted jeweled torch (which shines a “B” so your driver can signal your pilot to lower the stairs).  Read More

Ford's new inflatable seatbelts, which are designed to provide additional protection for r...

Most seat belts are designed to stretch during a crash to reduce the force of impact on the wearer while still preventing contact with the interior of the vehicle. Ford has gone one step further with plans to introduce inflatable seat belts designed to reduce the pressure on the chest and help control head and neck motion in rear seat passengers, spreading the crash force across five times more of the occupant’s torso than conventional seat belts.  Read More

The tubular steel 'space frame' of the Ultra II is welded together

Casualties in Iraq from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) have dropped as the number of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles has increased, but with roadside bombs still responsible for the majority of casualties to coalition forces in Afghanistan, there is a need for a smaller, more nimble version more suited to its rugged, mountainous terrain. A new concept that would see military vehicles built around a protected personnel compartment and use a sacrificial “blast wedge” to absorb energy could improve safety for the occupants of future light armored patrol vehicles.  Read More

The small dashboard robot that allows AIDA to communicate with the driver

Vehicles are slowly but surely heading towards a future where the driver is almost irrelevant. A raft of new technologies will be employed to control a vehicle’s performance, speed and steering. Eventually leading to vehicles that drive themselves. Many Technologies designed to assist drivers are already reaching fruition including systems that recognize tiredness in drivers or control the throttle and brakes for the duration of a journey. The latest driver assist technology to catch our eye comes out of the Massachusetts Institute of technology (MIT), where researchers are creating an in-car personal robot that is designed to offer the same kind of guidance as “an informed and friendly companion.”  Read More

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger introducing the hydrogen-powered Tyrano zero emi...

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has introduced Vision Industries’ Tyrano semi truck – a hydrogen-powered zero emissions vehicle designed to replace diesel and LNG short haul trucks in California. Vision says the Tyrano is the world’s first “green” heavy duty class 8 truck with zero emissions (zero CO2, zero fossil fuels, zero noise pollution and a zero carbon footprint). What’s more, the company claims the Tyrano is twice as powerful as a conventional diesel-powered vehicle.  Read More

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