The Saab 9-5 rolls off the production line. GM comes up with two-seater. And in this special presentation of Car Tech Live, we drive at Laguna Seca in a track car, a commuter car, and a car you've never heard of before.Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video) EPISODE 161 SHOW NOTES
After all the informative video thrown your way this week, you may be wondering if there's anything about the 2011 Chevy Volt that isn't more efficient than other vehicles. Sorry, but even the stereo isn't one of them. Today's video clip is about how professional audio titan Bose got involved in the making of Chevrolet's electric hybrid car set for release later this year.
In this video, Ed Peper, Chevy's North American vice president, introduces the partnership between the American auto manufacturer and Bose in the conception and creation of an energy-efficient sound system … Read more
By now I'm pretty certain that most of you are aware of the potential ecological and economical benefits of driving an electric or hybrid car that isn't reliant solely on fossil fuels. Not surprisingly, the U.S. government is getting behind the cause as well, influenced in part by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The ARRA is the official term for the economic stimulus package passed by Congress in early 2009 to help create jobs and promote investment in American enterprises during the current recession. And when it comes to the conception and push … Read more
Automaker GM, working with Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Southern California, is developing a new head-up display that outlines the road and potential hazards with lasers.
The system would use sensor technology such as infrared cameras, currently used for night vision by Mercedes-Benz and BMW, to look ahead when visibility is poor on dark nights or foggy days. When the cameras see cars, animals, pedestrians, or any other obstacle, lasers would outline them on the windshield. Similarly, the system could see the road ahead when the driver can't, and paint the edges of the road on the … Read more
In yesterday's video blog, we looked inside and out at a production version of the Chevrolet Volt electric hybrid that's set to hit the streets later this year. Car and Driver that clip in late 2009 on location in the parking lot of Dodger's Stadium; however, Chevy assembled and presented at least a few other prototypes before finally coming up with the production-ready Volt you may have seen images of. Today, we're showing you one of the other Volt prototypes that Chevy showed at the Paris Motor Show in late 2008.
Sure, the car doesn't … Read more
Seeing as I gave quite a bit of mostly positive airtime to the Toyota Prius last week, I thought it would be good to do the same for a new electric hybrid made stateside that's set to roll out later this year. And in case you haven't figured it out yet, I'm referring to the 2011 Chevrolet Volt. The Volt marks Chevy's first serious foray into the hybrid car market, and by the looks and sounds of things, this one may make a serious automotive splash.
Today's lengthy but informative video gives us a look … Read more
As part of its new small-car strategy, GM plans three significant launches under the Chevrolet brand over the next three years, the first of which is the Chevrolet Cruze, replacing the current Cobalt. Launched in Europe a year ago, GM reports initial success with the Cruze, despite the fact that it is a sedan in a hatchback-happy continent.
We got the opportunity to drive a European spec Cruze after the Geneva auto show, as a preview of the model that will be coming to the U.S. later this year. Body style, suspension, and interior appointments were basically the same as the U.S. car, but our car's turbocharged 2-liter diesel engine won't be available here in the States.
Instead, expect a turbocharged 1.4-liter gasoline engine, which should get about 40 mpg and produce 138 horsepower, on the LT model, and a 1.8-liter naturally aspirated gasoline engine in the Cruze LS. Chevrolet will offer six-speed manual and automatic transmissions in the Cruze, as opposed to the five-speed manual we saw in our European spec Cruze.
We met our test drive car in the Swiss town of Gruyere, where they make the cheese, after having driven up there from Geneva in the Chevy Spark, one of the other small cars on Chevy's agenda. Unlike the Spark, which had overt style, the Cruze depends on a more homogeneous appearance, a look that will blend in with all the Toyotas, Nissans, Mazdas, and Fords in the commuter lanes.
The Cruze does well representing the modern, small sedan, and the grille treatment, the single bar wearing the Chevy bow tie across the front, makes it look like a down-sized Malibu. Probably the greatest success of the design is in making a small car look big. … Read more
Despite the distractions of bankruptcy and reorganization, General Motors last year more than doubled its output of technology patents in alternative-powered vehicles.
An international database of patent activity reports that GM filed 629 patent applications in the alternative-power area last year, up from 261 the year before.
That was the second-highest volume in the industry, behind Toyota Motor, according to Derwent World Patents Index, of London. Toyota led in the alternative-power field with 2,058 new patent applications last year, down from 2,379 in 2008.
GM leapfrogged past Nissan Motor, Hyundai Motor, Honda Motor, and two of Japan's … Read more
GENEVA--Formerly known for its big SUVs, GM now thinks small cars are a great idea and is planning three models that slot below the Malibu in its lineup over the next three years. The all-new Chevrolet Spark comes out in 2011, a redesigned Aveo in 2012, and the Cruze--replacing the current Cobalt--later this year. GM gave us a chance to drive the Chevrolet Spark in Switzerland after the Geneva auto show.
GM already launched the Spark in Europe last year, where it serves as an ambassador for the Chevrolet badge. Not many Europeans have experience driving Chevrolets, and the tiny Spark should create a positive impression, given European automotive predilections. We drove a European-spec Spark, which has a less powerful engine than what will be offered in the U.S.
The Spark is a funky-looking little car, with dimensions reminiscent of the Honda Fit. The headlight casings look over-sized and are set into the fenders of the snub-nosed front-end. The grille carries the now-standard cross-bar bearing the Chevrolet bow-tie and an aggressive-looking air scoop sits in the lower fascia.
With rear wheels pushed to the far back corners, the doors take up the sides of the vehicle, with hidden C-pillar door handles giving the Spark a futuristic look. Front side windows dip down into the fenders, accentuating a generally busy design. Given the small palette, the busyness of the design may be intentional to from the size of the car.
All of these style elements make the Spark stand out in a way that will probably be polarizing to Americans. As such, Chevrolet maintains modest projections for sales in the U.S. According to GM, it hopes that the Spark achieves cult popularity, similar to the Scion xB.
Despite its size, the Spark didn't feel cheap when we got into it. Sure, the dashboard and door panels were made of hard plastics, but Chevrolet used a fine, cross-hatched texture that looks much better than the pebbled surfaces of old. The glossy panel around the radio has a subtle carbon fiber design, and the steering column-mounted instrument cluster is comprised of a traditional speedometer and digital display. … Read more
For about a year, a group of heavyweight automotive and technology companies has been working on a way to hasten development of in-vehicle entertainment systems. Their solution: share basic software development using the open-source Linux operating system.
Among the nearly 50 members of the group, called the Genivi Alliance, are automakers General Motors, BMW AG, Nissan Motor, and, as of February 17, Renault SA. Suppliers include Visteon, Delphi Automotive, and Continental AG.
The Genivi (pronounced jah-NEE-vee) Alliance is focusing on developing "middleware"--the layer of software that allows various kinds of information and entertainment applications to work together … Read more