We've been trawling the floor on the first day of the Frankfurt auto show, and there have been plenty of new model launches and concept-car unveilings to keep us busy. Mercedes-Benz delivered on its promise to take the wraps off a fleet of new cars, including hybrid versions of its C300 wagon and its ML450 SUV, as well as its F700 research vehicle. Volkswagen and BMW also took advantage of being on their home turf, with the latter unveiling its partnership with Google for a local-search-enabled in-dash navigation system, and VW showing off its Up concept, an ultra-compact rear-engined … Read more
We're not convinced about the wisdom of this one. GM is using this week's Frankfurt auto show to reiterate its commitment to alternative fuel cars with the unveiling of the Opel Flextreme, a concept plug-in car that builds on the buzz of the E-Flex drive train from the Chevy Volt. The car itself relies on a series hybrid drive train, which combines a lithium-ion powered-electric motor with a biodiesel combustion engine that is used solely for running the electric motor when the battery's charge runs out.
However, as blue-sky as the vehicle's power train may be (… Read more
DAVIS, Calif.--Update. Ian Wright, founder of electric sports-car maker Wrightspeed, wants to get into pickup trucks too.
The company is looking at making an electric drivetrain for trucks that the company would then sell to established manufacturers, he said during a hallway meeting at the GoingGreen conference taking place here. The top-three selling vehicles in the United States in 2006 were the Ford F-150, the Chevy Silverado and the Dodge Ram, he said. "No. 4 was the Camry."
Converting trucks from gas to electric could have a big impact on carbon monoxide emissions. Trucks emit a lot … Read more
The common wisdom is that gas stations make almost no profit off the gas itself (the gas companies make a ton of profit, of course) and must have side businesses like garages and, above all, snack shops to turn a profit.
What if you were to turn that equation on its head and add a "filling station" to, say, a Starbucks? That's the intriguing possibility raised by an article on SFGate about Hyatt Hotels and Tesla Motors, the Google-founders-financed electric car start-up. (It's also been written up on CNET News.com.)
"Hyatt will install Tesla … Read more
The Lightning GTS, an all-electric sports car coming from England next year, will go 0 to 60 in four seconds, the company says.
But what I like is the '60s styling and the Union Jack license plate.
The car is one of several relatively new entrants into the electric auto market. They can be roughly divided into three categories: sports car specialists (Tesla Motors, Lightning, Lightspeed) and the sedan makers (Zap, Miles Automotive, etc.) and economy cars (Riva, Think). Some will make cars for different categories. Established companies like Nissan, of course, are tinkering at this too.
Right now, Tesla … Read more
BMW rolled into town last night with a fleet of Hydrogen 7 sedans for us to test drive. Having already driven hydrogen cars from Honda and GM, we were intrigued to get behind the wheel of a hydrogen Bimmer, which differs from most other hydrogen-powered cars in that it doesn't rely on a fuel cell and electric drive train. Instead, it uses a modified version of the BMW 760Li's V-12 internal combustion engine to burn hydrogen in the cylinders in the same way as gasoline. It also differs from the pack in that that the hydrogen is stored … Read more
Besides Toyota Motor and BMW, automakers haven't done a great job of building fleets that emit less carbon dioxide, according to an Environmental Defense report.
The organization's 80-page report, called "Automakers' Corporate Carbon Burdens" (PDF), evaluated the carbon dioxide emissions of vehicles from major automakers between 1990 and 2005. Companies graded were: Ford Motor, General Motors, DaimlerChrysler, Toyota, Honda Motor, Nissan Motor, Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors, Volkswagen, BMW, Subaru and Mitsubishi Motors.
"The rate of carbon dioxide emissions from new cars and light trucks in the U.S. dipped for the first time in two … Read more
Last year, HP introduced its HP iPaq rx5900 Travel Companion, a sleek gadget that combined the powers of a PDA and a portable navigation system into one solution. It was the first GPS device for the company, and based on user opinions, it was a pretty successful product. Now, HP has decided to embark on its first GPS-only venture with the new HP iPaq 310 Travel Companion. I got a sneak preview a couple of weeks ago, and I must say, I'm pretty impressed. Unlike the rx5900, which used TomTom software, HP created its own interface for the iPaq … Read more
With this year's SEMA show fast approaching, aftermarket car-tech manufacturers are starting to release details on the next generation of their in-car gadgetry. This week, Pioneer unveiled the latest addition to its AVIC series of all-in-one in-car navigation and media devices, the single-DIN-size AVIC-N4. Like the AVIC-Z1 and AVIC-D3 systems, the N4 features a 7-inch touch-screen LCD display, which can be used to show maps, view DVDs, and program a range of media sources, including compressed audio discs, and iPods. Unlike the larger systems, the N4 comes with a motorized faceplate, which can stow away, enabling the system to … Read more
It looks like the futuristic power system for electric cars promised by EEStor could be a little late.
EEStor CEO Richard Weir told CNET News.com in a brief phone interview that commercial production of its energy storage system--a device that holds electricity and functions somewhat like a battery--will be sometime in the next 10 months or so. The unit is also referred to as an "ultracapacitor."
"We intend to be in production on or before the middle of next year," he said.
Although that means that the company could be in production by tomorrow, the … Read more