Few people can deny that Toyota's early adoption of hybrid technology has been a stroke of PR genius, giving the world's largest car maker and the producer of such Leviathans as the Sequoia and the Tundra plenty of positive press as well as a green image wherever it goes. (Last year, I even heard Bob Lutz, GM's chairman and product development guru, pay grudging homage to the strategy.)
With all the technology that's poured into the interior of today's cars, perhaps most surprising is the evolution of the lowly rear-view mirror. As we've noted, various automakers are outfitting them with Webcams to check blind spots, including some that fade away when not in use. Now, it's being used as a radar to detect speed traps too.
The "GPSMirror" checks traffic conditions as well, using its built-in database to look for "accident black spots, common mobile cameras, and fixed safety camera locations," according to NaviGadget. It's not clear how that … Read more
It's all change at DaimlerChrysler. As Chrysler Group contemplates its buyout at the hands of Cerberus Capital Management, one of its signature engines is about to get a green makeover. The 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, the motivation behind some of Chrysler's most thirsty trucks and SUVs, is going hybrid thanks to the addition of two electric motors. The resultant Hemi hybrid engine will be offered in the 2008 models of the Chrysler Aspen and the Dodge Durango, making the vehicles into 2-mode hybrids similar to the 2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid and the Chevy Tahoe Hybrid--both due out later … Read more
Nissan is following in the green-car footsteps of Toyota and Honda with the launch of its Altima Hybrid. Rather than developing its own hybrid system for the Altima's power train, Nissan is licensing Toyota's dual-mode Hybrid Synergy Drive system, which works in conjunction with the car's 2.5-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine. (Nissan apparently is working on its own hybrid technology, but that's not scheduled to go into production for at least a few years.)
We got a brief chance to drive the Altima Hybrid this week around the Hollister Hills in Northern California. Like many hybrids, … Read more
Biofuel. Hybrid cars. Electric cars. Hydrogen. Those are some of the bright ideas in the future of car tech. Many proponents of the hydrogen fuel cell gathered in Vancouver, Canada, recently to discuss their problems and the promises.
This video from that conference shows hydrogen cars on the road. Models from four manufacturers made a 150-mile round trip during the meeting. DaimlerChrysler predicts that by 2015 there'll be millions of hydrogen cars on the road. The company claims that's not just a lot of hot air.
If you're looking for a hydrogen vehicle somewhere in between a fuel-cell powered flying car and a fuel-cell powered wheelchair, German company Masterflex Brennstoffzellentechnik has the answer: a fuel-cell powered Cargobike.
The three-wheeled electric bicycle runs on power generated from its 250-watt fuel cell, which is fueled by an onboard 90-gram low-pressure hydrogen tank. (It can also be powered by good, old-fashion pedal power when the H2 runs out).) According to its designers, the Cargobike has a range of 250km and can accelerate to 6km per hour without assistance. In addition to powering the wheels, electricity from the fuel … Read more
If you want an all-electric sedan, start saving now.
Tesla Motors has more fully discussed its price goals for WhiteStar, an all-electric passenger sedan coming in late 2009 or 2010. The premium model will cost between $65,000 and $70,000, a company representative said, while the standard model will cost closer to $50,000.
The cars will differ by more than fancy seats. The company has said that the premium version will go from zero to 60 miles per hour in less than 6 seconds and go about 200 miles before needing a charge. The standard version will accelerate … Read more
In an indication that Mitsubishi is serious about building a production electric car, sooner rather than later, it entered into a joint venture with Japanese battery maker GS Yuasa to make large lithium-ion batteries. We've seen Mitsubishi's MIEV technology on cars at the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show and the 2006 Detroit Motor Show, and it's pretty cool. Mitsubishi developed in-wheel electric motors that can be used in all four wheels of a car. The result is a very flexible all-wheel-drive car where torque can be finely tuned for each wheel, depending on the current driving conditions. Mitsubishi … Read more
Crave would never intentionally create domestic problems for anyone, but if we did--theoretically speaking, of course--we would dare our readers to bid on this eBay item: a "Winntech Scorpion" car media display. You know those huge set-ups in car stereo showrooms where you see and hear equipment in action? This is one of them, in spades.
It's a four-seat display (though only two are shown here), which will "switch between six head units, four speakers, four subwoofers and two video overheads, one video head unit and two headrest monitors," according to the auction's description. … Read more
It's difficult to describe the smell of boiling brake fluid and barbecued brake discs. Or the sound of a BMW M6 being flogged to within an inch of its life, squealing for mercy as it hangs on to traction by the skin of its Z-rated rubber. We just got back from a day of track testing at California's Laguna Seca raceway, courtesy of the Western Automotive Journalist association, and can report it was by far the most enjoyable day's work we've done for a long time.
Among the cars up for grabs were many of the … Read more