A pit crew swarms around an open-wheel racecar, but instead of hoisting a fuel-fill tank they hot-swap its battery packs and send the driver back into the race. That could be the scene at next year's TTXGP -- an all-electric motorcycle race set for its inaugural running this Friday on the UK's Isle of Man. The event's organizers announced this week they were seeking to include four-wheeled vehicles for 2010.
The University of Michigan--America's solar-racing powerhouse--will compete on the world stage with Infinium, crossing Australia in the World Solar Challenge
By Sally YoungerPosted 06.08.2009 at 6:05 pm 8 Comments
University of Michigan
In the shadow of the state’s struggling automakers, the University of Michigan solar engineering team—one of the most advanced in the country--unveiled its newest solar-powered race car, Infinium. With the $1 million racer they hope to vanquish the competition at the World Solar Challenge, a six-day 1,800 mile sprint across Australia using only the southern hemisphere sunlight. Needless to say, it looks fast.
Will US car buyers adopt a car the size of a laundromat dryer, that costs as much as a sofa? Ratan Tata, chairman of India's Tata Motors, hopes they will. Automotive News reports that Tata is floating plans to bring a version of the $2,500 Nano minicar to the US within three years.
Chairman Tata made such remarks this week at a Cornell University forum in New York City. Deliveries of the Nano to buyers in India, where only one in one thousand people own a car, are scheduled to begin in India next month.
Sustainable transport may be just another task on environmentalists' to-do list, but for car designers it's a path to rethinking how automobiles are built, and from what they're made. That's the idea behind the "Stauro," a conceptual roadster with the horsepower of an exotic supercar, using recycled materials in its construction. The eco-friendly hot rod envisions a day when high-performance gasoline engines are replaced by powerplants using citrus-oil and steam. No, they're not kidding.
Today Mitsubishi unveiled the production version of the iMiEV, the company's pure-electric car, and announced that it will come to market pretty much right away—next month, in Japan. (No North American launch date has been announced.) Mitsubishi is calling the four-seat minicar the "ultimate eco-car," the first step toward making EVs 20 percent of its business by 2020.
A new autonomous vehicle-control system on the BMW drawing board could prolong drivers' lives behind the wheel, without sacrificing their own and others' safety. That's good news for elderly drivers. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports crash fatalities among drivers over the age of 70 fell 21 percent between 1997 and 2006, despite a 10 percent increase in that population. The decline is likely due to elderly drivers self-limiting their driving. But hanging up their keys means a loss of independence and lower quality of life for older drivers -- especially in rural areas.
Imagine the laughter, back in 1965, if Ford had crossed the kid-friendly Country Squire station wagon with the stately Lincoln Continental. A car shopper would have spit-launched his Lucky Strike right into the salesman's shirt pocket. These days, luxurious motoring and conveying a large brood to Chuck E. Cheese or the World's Largest Ball of Twine aren't as mutually exclusive as they once were. Take as exhibit, well probably O at this point, the Lincoln MKT.
How much is 0.17 cubic inches worth to you? If your name is Carl Long, the answer is: much more than $200,000. That's the monetary fine (the largest in NASCAR history) that Long received last week for running with an engine that was 358.17 cubic inches in volume, just 0.17 inches above the NASCAR limit. For Long, who was in 63rd place before the suspension, the fine is just the beginning.
The old adage "race on Sunday, sell on Monday" apparently still holds water among US automakers. Ford announced this week the company's Fiesta subcompact will make its US motorsport debut at the punishing Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb this July. The company is apparently cultivating a high-performance image for its economy-minded Fiesta subcompact, which is set for a market launch in the US by 2010.