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Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg rode the Bik.e onto the stage for the unveiling. Dr. Hackenberg is a...

The concept of “last few mile mobility” is one which we'll all grow accustomed to over the next decade as the world's cities become more congested and non-polluting micro mobility concepts begin to supplement other forms of transport. In the last year alone we've seen Toyota's Winglet, Honda's U3-X, Nissan's electric skis, and now Volkswagen has shown a micro mobility concept which it has dubbed the "Bik.e" – a folding electric bike with one of the most ingenious folding mechanisms we've seen. With a range of 20 kilometres (12.5 miles), the Bik.e has 20 inch wheels and folds to a footprint identical to that of a car spare tyre, enabling it to be stowed away easily. Whatsmore, the bik.e will definitely see production, and possibly even before the end of the year. VW's choice of form factor is as fascinating as its choice of a recognisable name is inspired. The Bik.e could turn out to be as important to VW as the iPod has been to Apple.  Read More

Volkswagen's Milano Taxi Electric Vehicle concept

The era of the electric vehicle is drawing nearer (albeit excruciatingly slowly) and with Volkswagen set to get its first EV into showrooms in 2013, its latest EV concept indicates how the world's third largest auto maker is reading the market. Dubbed the Milano Taxi, the concept is a long overdue shot at getting a purpose-built electric cab into major cities. The 115 PS vehicle can reach 74 mph, travel 186 miles between charges and be recharged to 80 percent of capacity in just over an hour.  Read More

VW Turbo Diesel Touaregs finish 1-2-3: same results, different year at Dakar 2010

Volkswagen’s turbo diesel technology completed a comprehensively successful title defence in the 2010 Dakar Rally, finishing 1-2-3 with WRC legend Carlos Sainz (bottom right) finally winning the most prestigious “raid” in the world at his fourth attempt. In the motorcycles, Cyril Depres (top left) won his third Dakar Rally, after 9000 km across Argentina and Chile. He rode in triumph into Buenos Aires to complete his third Dakar victory and the tenth consecutive victory for Austrian brand KTM. Indeed, apart from Sainz and Quad bike winner Marcos Patronelli who finished second last year, all the winners were old hands. Yamaha dominated the Quads as usual with a 1-2-3, the “tsar” (Russia’s Vladimir Chagin) won the truck category for the sixth time, driving a Kamaz (bottom left). The rugged Russian Kamaz truck won EVERY stage in the 2010 event, finished 1-2 and picked up a ninth Dakar win.  Read More

Volkswagen's New Compact Coupe Concept at the 2010 NAIAS

Volkswagen kicked-off what it promises will be a big year in Detroit this morning with the world premiere of the Compact Coupe. Described as a car that appeals to the "head and heart in equal measure", the four-seat, front wheel drive hybrid concept combines miserly fuel economy of 45 mpg (combined) and CO2 emissions of 98 g/km with performance figures of 0-60 mph in 8.6 seconds and a quoted top speed of 141 mph (227 kmh).  Read More

Dakar Rally: the usual suspects in the lead at the half way mark

After seven of the 14 legs of the 2010 Dakar Rally, the usual suspects have found their way to the fore once more. With Mitsubishi withdrawing from the event in deference to the GFC, it was predictable that Volkswagen would dominate the event and on the mid-point rest day, three factory race VW TDI Touaregs hold the first three spots, all more than 150 minutes clear of the field. In the bikes, where restrictors have been added to the inlets of machinery larger than 450cc machinery, KTM’s 690s have nevertheless dominated almost as much usual, holding first and six of the top 10 places, with two-time winner Cyril Depres an hour and 20 minutes clear of a close battle for second.  Read More

The winner - congratulations to Honda for having the most reliable 4x4 on the road, as mea...

If you’re planning on choosing a roadgoing car based on racetrack results, maybe you’d better think again. With the world’s greatest off-road race, the Dakar Rally, currently powering its way through Chile, it’s interesting to note that the leaders of the event (BMW and Volkswagen) are among the least reliable 4x4 vehicles on the road, where it really counts. Newly released and highly credible information from the U.K. has revealed the most and least reliable pre-owned 4x4 and SUV cars on the market (see the top 10 lists here). Honda’s CR-V won the crown of the most reliable 4x4 by a fair margin while Audi’s A6 Allroad is the most unreliable 4x4 on the road, with Volkswagen’s Touareg and BMW’s X5 placing second and third most unreliable. That’s right folks, despite performing spectacularly in race events such as the Dakar, the VW Touareg is the second most unreliable 4x4 on the market, according to Warranty Direct.  Read More

VW's UP! Lite Concept Car – the world’s most efficient four wheeler

Volkswagen’s L1 narrow-track tandem Concept was one of the stars of the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, but a more conventional vehicle using a similar hybrid electric turbo diesel powertain was on show at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week which will be the world’s most efficient and economical four-door when it, or something very close to it, goes on sale in 2011. The UP! Lite is capable of carrying four adults in comfort, delivers 115.7mpg, emits just 65g/km of CO2 and is capable of 100mph. The UP! Lite heads down the same road as the smart phone, with one central computer display controlled by touch screen and hand movement sensors – this handles such systems as active thermal management, passive park ventilation, Internet, telephone, MP3, video, telephone, trip computer and radio.  Read More

There are many exclusive, very expensive  wristwatches, but none that do this

The Bugatti marque has an array of the most exclusive, indeed totally unique brand values ever assembled. Ettore Bugatti came from a family of famous designers, sculptors, painters and architects. Though he chose a different path, it was Ettore who gave the family name its global renown, producing machines that set world speed records for planes, boats, trains and cars, the most successful racing car in history and the most expensive automobile in history. VW purchased the name a few years ago and created the fastest, most powerful, most expensive Veyron, and in so doing, the exclusive brand name was successfully resurrected. Now Bugatti will produce a Tourbillon wristwatch by Parmigiani which doubles as the clock on the dashboard of its latest car and hence will be worn only by those who purchase the US$1,470,000 16C Galibier, which will be, predictably, the fastest, most exclusive and most powerful four door automobile available.  Read More

The autonomous TTS Coupe quattro's R2D2-like antennae might one day be as visually appeali...

The age-old battle of man versus machine will move to a new arena in 2010 when Audi will begin pitting an autonomous TTS Coupe quattro against record times of some of the great driving challenges, including a likely attempt at the infamous 12.42-mile Pikes Peak Hill Climb in Colorado, USA. The driverless Audi is from the same team that built the VW Touareg which won the first race for autonomous vehicles, the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge. The inevitable incorporation of advanced robotic technologies into our automobiles will ultimately yield a safer vehicle and it’s the thin end of the wedge – one day soon your car will not only be smarter than you are, it will also be faster and maybe even better looking.  Read More

Nissan's LandGlider

Since Nicholas Negroponte first came up with his landmark teething ring visualization of the coming together of communication, computing and content, the term convergence has become the uber buzzword. Now there’s convergence going on in the personal transport industry, with the car and the motorcycle morphing as car makers attempt to downsize their vehicles to make them better suited to the world’s increasingly crowded roads. This article begins with Nissan’s tandem two-seat, half width tilting car, the Landglider, and examines all the other work being done around the world as narrow track vehicles seriously begin to make their case.  Read More

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