By John VoelckerPosted 06.25.2012 at 10:21 am 17 Comments
Later this year, Ford will roll out the Focus Electric, Detroit's first direct competitor to the Nissan Leaf. Like the Leaf, the Focus Electric is an all-electric five-door hatchback with a 600-plus-pound lithium-ion battery, a driving range of close to 100 miles on a charge, and a price tag north of $35,000. Unlike the Leaf, the Focus Electric is not a purpose-built EV; it looks almost identical to the gas-powered Focus, which is manufactured on the same Michigan assembly line.
A cheaper, smaller Prius with crazypants gas mileage
By Jon Alain GuzikPosted 06.22.2012 at 2:00 pm 10 Comments
Recently Bloomberg ran a report stating that Toyota is on track to sell over 250,000 Prius-branded vehicles in the United States in 2012. If you live anywhere on the coasts or in any urban and/or quickly gentrifying area, you might think Toyota has hit that saturation point already. In California, it seems that every other car on the road is a Prius--including most of the taxicabs.
By Lawrence UlrichPosted 05.29.2012 at 10:08 am 18 Comments
Detroit automakers have recently been locked in a competition straight out of the 1960s: a race to create the fastest and most powerful muscle car. This summer, Ford takes the lead with the 650-horsepower Mustang Shelby GT 500. To break the 200mph mark, engineers departed from the muscle-car tradition of throwing a truck engine under the hood and calling it a day. Instead they redesigned the engine with lightweight materials, refined the car’s aerodynamics, and installed driver-assistance systems that allow anyone to drive the Shelby as it’s designed to be driven—aggressively.
Getting around in the future is going to be something of a trip, at least to let classics of science fiction like TRON, Blade Runner, Aliens, and Star Trek tell the story. In a rare glimpse into the mind of the man that largely shaped Hollywood’s sci-fi representation of the future of transport, a collection of visionary designer Syd Mead’s paintings is currently on display in Manhattan.
The new roadster has been substantially redesigned for 2013--but you'll still look awesome while driving it
By Jon Alain GuzikPosted 05.15.2012 at 3:35 pm 3 Comments
With the new sixth generation SL, Mercedes-Benz once again redefines the two-seater luxury roadster segment that it helped to create in 1954. For 2013, Mercedes-Benz started from the ground up on the SL, this time building upon a lightweight aluminum bodyshell similar to the top-of-the-range SLS. The platform is entirely new--its first in a decade.
The applicant had to drive flawlessly on highways, through neighborhoods, and on the Strip, while Department of Motor Vehicles officials rode along sternly monitoring its skill. When it passed the test, it became the first autonomous vehicle officially licensed to drive on the nation's roads with no human intervention.
By John VoelckerPosted 05.04.2012 at 2:12 pm 8 Comments
At the 2008 Detroit Auto Show, the start-up Fisker Automotive unveiled its Karma concept , a high-end plug-in hybrid the company would use to challenge Tesla Motors. Cofounder Henrik Fisker said the Karma would go on sale in late 2009. Then the recession, a switch in battery suppliers and other delays kept Fisker from shipping the first trickle of cars until late last year.
While we wait for our self-driving cars of the future to autonomously deliver us from gridlock forever, Honda is working to help human drivers reduce traffic in realtime by analyzing the driving patterns of individual vehicles and determine if each one is likely to cause a traffic jam. By analyzing the acceleration and deceleration of individual cars, the technology prods the driver to take steps in realtime that will avoid traffic congestion among trailing vehicles.
Society must make two big leaps in order to enable truly self-driving cars. The first is technological. Engineers need to improve today’s cars (which can warn a driver that he’s drifting out of his lane) beyond current Google and Darpa prototypes (which maintain the lane on their own) to the point where automobiles can edge forward through a construction zone while their owners sleep inside.