AFS Trinity Power Corporation showed off its plug-in hybrid SUV, the XH-150, at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show. The car's power train represents a refinement of the hybrid concept by employing ultra-capacitors for fast acceleration under electric power. Traditional hybrids use batteries to power low speed driving, but kick in a gas engine when high speeds or heavy acceleration is required. AFS Trinity builds on this concept by adding ultracapacitors, which, unlike batteries, are designed to quickly discharge electricity, providing power to the hybrid's motors for fast acceleration. The company's demonstration vehicle, the XH-150, also features plug-in … Read more
Tata Motors is billing its tiny, ultracheap Nano as the "people's car," but some people would just as soon not see it get built--at least under current conditions.
The Tata Nano made an outsized splash at its debut Thursday as the world's automotive press disseminated details and photos of the $2,500 car, which the giant company ($7.2 billion in revenue for its most recent fiscal year) said it designed to give Indian families an alternative to overcrowded scooters and to "set a new benchmark among small cars." The Nano is roughly half … Read more
Despite the pickup truck and cow catcher styling, the prototype of the military's new Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) from Oshkosh Truck and Northrop Grumman promises better maneuverability, survivability, and payload capacity over the HMMWV it's designed to replace.
The U.S. Army and Marine Corps want something that comes armor-equipped, fuel-efficient, and air-droppable. It also wants a vehicle that can run on two flats and endure sustained small-arms fire. But most of all, performance must "exceed" that of the HMMWV, better known as the Humvee--which means it has to be more mine-resistant and ambush-proof than … Read more
Ford confirmed Thursday that the company is considering an offer to sell its Jaguar and Land Rover subsidiaries to Tata Motors of India.
"Ford is committed to focused negotiations at a more detailed level with Tata Motors concerning the potential sale of the combined Jaguar-Land Rover business," Lewis Booth, an executive vice president at Ford, said in a statement.
"There is still a considerable amount of work to do, and while no final decision has been made, we will proceed with further substantive discussions with Tata Motors over the forthcoming weeks with a view to … Read more
Greater availability of silicon germanium chips and better reliability in bad weather will make radar technology favored over other automotive obstacle detection technologies, according to an ABI Research report released Wednesday.
There are four major types of obstacle detection technologies currently used in vehicles for applications like blind spot detection and parking assistance. Radar will probably win out over sonar, lidar, and cameras, said David Alexander, principle analyst at ABI Research, who specializes in telematics and automotive research .
In order to get its electric sports car to owners sooner, Tesla Motors plans to deliver cars with a temporary transmission that falls short of its originally promised performance.
The news was distributed to the wide world on Thursday in a blog post from Ze'ev Drori, Tesla's new president and CEO.
The post is a reprint of a letter that was sent to Tesla purchasers on December 21, as a follow-up to a town hall meeting for Tesla owners that took place on December 12. About 100 people, including those who called in, participated in the meeting, according … Read more
More good news for those of us who have been forced to divide our attention between the road and what seems like an ever-increasing number of gadgets and other in-car distractions: automotive voice-activation technology is becoming more widespread.
On Thursday, U.S.-based company Nuance announced that it will be putting its text-to-speech technology in select new Ford models in Europe. The system powers Ford's "Human Machine Interface" (HMI), which allows drivers to make calls, enter destinations into the navigation system, control the audio system, and change the inside temperature using simple voice commands.
For example, a … Read more
Volkswagen has four new car architectures planned as part of its revamp, according to reports.
In mid-November Volkswagen announced it would be investing 28.9 billion euros in its automotive division over the next three years. The company said the changes would focus on completely new vehicles as well "successor models and derivatives" for all of its product classes. The investment will include new powertrain technologies and updates to manufacturing plants.
Today it's been reported this will entail the introduction of four completely new base architectures from which Volkswagen will build its new models and updates, according … Read more
Mercedes-Benz is relaunching all of its Web sites to include more rich media content and tools, the company announced Monday.
The change will effect over 50 brand sites and 1,000 dealership sites around the world. The brand sites will include higher-resolution photos, videos and a 3D vehicle configuration tool, as well as Mercedes-Benz television commercials and links to Mercedes-Benz TV.
While several car companies already offer media rich Web sites, the change is significant for the German automaker as it could signal that Mercedes is getting serious about courting a younger demographic of drivers.
The company cites increased broadband … Read more
Boeing has rolled out the marketing for its laser-equipped Humvee by zapping five IED-like targets on a test range at Alabama's Redstone Arsenal (PDF) in what it called "the company's ability to rapidly respond to warfighters' needs."
Dubbed the "Laser Avenger," the unit consists of a 1-kilowatt solid-state laser mounted on an air-defense Humvee. It works by "shooting an invisible beam just a few centimeters in diameter and 20 times hotter than an electric stovetop" into the offending munition until it combusts internally. It then just "pops" or "… Read more