On the second day of the 2008 Western Automotive Journalists Media Days, we drove a variety of different cars at Laguna Seca. This famous track employs a number of technical turns, not to mention a quarter-mile straightaway, for testing handling and acceleration.
You'd never hear us complaining about our job here at CNET Car Tech, but there are times during the course of our reviews that we find ourselves wishing we could drive our test cars a bit more, well, illegally (all in the interests of thorough automotive journalism, you understand). Yesterday, our prayers were answered at an event hosted by the Western Automotive Journalist association at Laguna Seca raceway in California. One of the first things we sought to find out was whether Audi's Quattro system worked as well on the track as it had on the roads. We … Read more
In the world of robotic cars, human relations can be tricky.
The organizer of an upcoming "Robotic Grand Prix" in Long Beach, Calif., has retracted the title of its event after representatives from the Stanford University and Carnegie Mellon University robotic racing teams took issue with how the event was being marketed. On Monday, the Toyota Grand Prix issued a press release that said autonomous cars from Stanford, CMU, and Lehigh University--finishers of last year's DARPA Urban Grand Challenge--would race against each other again later this month.
Jim Michaelian, CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long … Read more
A "green," petroleum-free brand of motor oil is due to appear on store shelves soon.
Green Earth Technologies said it's shipping its line of green motor oils to national retailers starting within the next month. Waste fats from cattle instead of fossil fuels are the key ingredients.
"We turn that into liquid form and use nanotechnology to have it perform in lubricant format," explained company CEO Jeff Marshall.
Because the slaughter of each cow leaves behind 200 pounds of waste tallow, the company is making use of a renewable resource, he said.
"We're … Read more
SOMS Technologies says that its engine filter will extend the life of engine oil by 30,000 miles, enabling drivers to use 75 percent less oil and save hundreds of dollars in maintenance per car.
"You could say this would be terrible news for Jiffy Lube, but we don't look at it that way," said company CEO Miles Flamenbaum, who presented at the Cleantech Forum in San Francisco on Wednesday. "It would allow them to charge a little bit more, take more of a margin from oil change costs, and do it less often."
The … Read more
As a fan of the predecessor to this current M3, the e46, I was skeptical about driving what some called a heavy, underpowered car that didn't quite live up to its ancestors' legacy. A few die-hard enthusiasts, amid cracking tired Bangle jokes that are oh-so-five-years-ago, called it the MPIG, bemoaning the addition of more sensors and high-tech gadgets that added weight and deterred DIYers. And I almost bought into it.
Sure, I'll never love the look of the car like I love the e46. But the new M3 is, for better or worse, one of those cars you … Read more
The batteries in hybrid cars now get recharged slightly whenever the driver taps the brakes. If research at Honda pans out, heat from the engines could do the same thing.
The Japanese auto giant has released a paper detailing how a Rankine cycle co-generation unit could help recharge the battery in a hybrid and thereby increase gas mileage, according to Green Car Congress. Honda put the Rankine unit in a test car (a Honda Stream) and found that the unit generated more electricity than regenerative braking. However, the unit isn't very efficient so more work will be required before … Read more
It's sort of like an organ transplant for cars.
Transonic Combustion, which has been relatively secretive until now, has created a fuel injection system that will let diesel engines run on regular gasoline. Diesel engines get better mileage than regular gas engines, explained CEO Mike Cheiky in an interview. However, diesels typically emit more particulates. Gas is also far more readily available than diesel in the U.S. Insert Transonic's components into a diesel engine and you get the best of both worlds.
Additionally, the company's fuel injection system dramatically increases the internal compression in an engine, … Read more
Hot hatchback aficionados dream of a car like the 2008 Volkswagen R32. Where most hot hatchbacks, such as the 2007 Honda Civic Si, use front-wheel drive and a four-cylinder engine, the R32 upgrades those specs with all-wheel drive and a 3.2-liter V-6, giving it exceptional handling and power that doesn't fade at high speed. And the look of the R32 is about as refined as a hatchback can be.
With all the talk of new, fuel-efficient vehicles, those of us who are still driving our regular old cars might feel left out. But there are still ways we can help save gas -- and money -- by making relatively simple adjustments to our cars and driving habits.
Change the air filter. The air filter is a crucial component to minimizing fuel use and maximizing horsepower. Bryan Gregory, director of consumer education for Advance Auto Parts, says it takes an engine about 10,000 gallons of air to combust one gallon of gas. So it makes sense, then, that the … Read more