On a recent trip to England and the Isle of Man on a 1965 BSA 650 Thunderbolt, I saw the future--or at least the future American automotive landscape.
There were no outrageous concept cars brought to life (well, OK, a few Aston Martins, some Lotuses, numerous TVRs, and a Ferrari Owners Club parade through downtown London), but no flying cars--although a car that could also function as a boat, like the 1960s Amphicar, might have been useful considering the weather. The cars seen in the UK were much smaller than what we have here, and pickups and SUVs conspicuous by their absence. Vans, in sizes from truly micro to large, as exemplified by the Mercedes-Benz/Dodge Sprinter, took the place of our commercial pickups and utility vehicles.
Chrysler does have some market penetration with its Jeep Grand Cherokees, as both are sold in right-hand drive form. Land Rovers are used by farmers, not soccer moms. And most cars are what would be considered compact or smaller here, not midsize. Think Volkswagen Golf/Rabbit/Jetta, as medium-sized cars, with the smaller Polo being more numerous. A Toyota Camry is a big car on the other side of the Atlantic, and a Honda Accord is a much different and smaller automobile.
Why? Reason No. 1 is fuel cost. Signs on petrol (that's gasoline in British English) stations said anywhere from 1.12 to 1.26--that's in pounds Sterling (multiply dollars by two, more or less) and per liter. Multiply that almost two by almost four. That's over eight dollars a gallon for unleaded premium, and, as here, a bit more for diesel. Makes five bucks American seem like a deal. … Read more
What gets 35 miles per gallon and goes from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 4.5 seconds? You might suggest a motorcycle, but you would only be 66 percent right.
BRP's Can-Am Spyder uses three wheels, two in front and one in back. The Spyder isn't exactly a motorcycle, a trike, or a three-wheeled car. BRP suggests calling it a roadster, but that designation is a stretch as well.
We got our first chance to ride the Spyder this week, when BRP brought a few of them to our offices.
The learning curve was fairly quick--the … Read more
With Earth Day upon us, CNET News.com's green reporters sat down and selected five leading companies in five different clean-technology categories. Here are the transportation companies selected:
1. A123 Systems: Like a number of other companies, A123 wants to sell lithium-ion battery packs for electric cars and plug-in hybrids. The difference is that A123, which spun out of MIT, has influential friends. General Motors invested in the company and is testing A123 batteries for its hybrids, including the Chevy Volt expected in 2010. So is Norway's Think, which makes an electric town car. In all, the company … Read more
Anyone who saw Craver Brian Cooley's video of this bizarre vehicle at last year's Geneva Auto Show will notice that something is conspicuously absent from the photo above: There are no training wheels. The reason that the "MonoTracer" needs those is that it has only two wheels--something else that may not be entirely clear at an initial glance.
Though it may look like an anorexic car, this futuristic vehicle from Germany's Peraves is an enclosed motorcycle that is supposedly far more aerodynamic than its naked counterparts. Even so, when it's taking sharp corners on … Read more
BMW unveiled two completely new motorcycles and two revised models at the 2007 EICMA Motorcycle Show in Milan on Wednesday.
The much-anticipated BMW F 800 GS is a middle-weight motorcycle capable of being taken for the occasional off-road shortcut, while the new G 450 X is an off-road racer.
Meanwhile, the R 1200 GS and its heftier counterpart, the R 1200 GS Adventure, have been updated for better endurance. The Adventure also includes a gas tank that doing an average of 56 mph should take you 466 miles before you need to refuel.
A good part of the exhibition space at the 2007 Tokyo auto show is devoted to motorcycles. Manufacturers such as Yamaha, Suzuki, and Honda had some fascinating concept bikes on display, showing how they see the future of motorcycling. From big, high-tech concepts that look like they came straight out of Akira, to green and clean fuel-cell scooters, these bikes show off two-wheelers for every purpose. And there's even a four-wheel motorcycle in the mix.
Where do you draw the line between a motorcycle and a car?
Toyota's iQ Concept, a concept car that debuted in Frankfurt and will be at the 2007 Tokyo auto show, might be better suited for the next rally in Sturgis, SD.
Toyota is in collaboration with two Japanese companies to develop a 1-liter engine for the iQ that will be based on a Yamaha motorcycle engine, according to reports from Auto Blog and Automotive News Europe.
Toyota plans to produce about 80,000 iQ cars for Europe by 2009 and possibly more for the Indian and Chinese markets. … Read more
The "Victory Vision 2008" has iPod navigation controls built into the handlebars and a dashboard display, according to Chip Chick. That in and of itself is handy, but there are other bikes with similar features. What sets this one apart is a four-speaker system in higher-end models, with an option for XM Radio.
If the bike is anywhere near as fast as it looks, however, we'd suggest skipping the speakers. As we've … Read more
Given the spate of electric motorcycles hitting the market, many of us might be tempted to give one of them a shot for the health of the environment if nothing else. But one about our personal well being?
Currie Technologies is trying to provide the best of all worlds with its "iZip Express," a hybrid bike that can supplement your natural pedal power with a small electric motor. Gizmag says the bike's engine, which generates more power as you pedal faster, can yield top speeds of 25 mph on a battery with a range of 31 miles … Read more