A major auto show without concept cars is just a heated parking garage with shrimp cocktail. So with the Frankfurt show's press days underway, Audi revealed a technical study that examines what its R8 sports car might be like if powered by four electric motors. The answer is the E-Tron. Those four motors together produce a modest 313 horsepower, but an astronomical 3,319 pound-feet of torque.
Not all that torque comes on at once, of course. Such a quantity of twisting force -- as much as an M47 Patton tank -- would turn all four tires into rubber vapor at the first throttle stab.
Yep, it's a good time to be one of the haves. Volkswagen-owned Bugatti, maker of the wickedly fast and pricey Veyron, this week unveiled an ultra-luxury sedan for the upmost echelon of car buyers. It's the Galibier, which takes its name from a pass in the Alps traversed during the Tour de France. But does such a machine still have a place in this age of downscaled expectations and environmental responsibility? Before you answer, that's an entirely rhetorical question.
What? Hedge-fund managers, heads of surgery, corporate lawyers and their well-heeled, buttoned-up ilk don't need plug-in hybrids too? Mercedes-Benz is keeping such an audience in mind for its latest concept car, the Vision S 500 plug-in hybrid. Similar to the S 400 hybrid currently in production, the S 500 can also travel 18.6 miles in electric-only mode and take a battery recharge by way of an electrical outlet. What ever happened to greed is good?
Usually, the drag race comes after the new muscle cars hit the road, not while they're still on the drawing board. But in a tech presentation in Detroit this week, Chrysler showed off a computer-aided modeling system it developed in-house that it says let the company bring its Challenger from concept to market in just 21 months, quicker than Chevrolet did its similarly muscular Camaro.
India's Reva says drivers of its new electric cars can call or text the company for a remote power boost. Is there a groundbreaking wireless technology afoot, or has something been lost in the translation?
India's Reva electric car company has a UK hit on its hands with the diminutive G-Wiz, an increasingly common addition to London traffic. This year, the company will introduce a new model, the Reva NXR -- a four-seat, three-door hatchback -- and plans to unveil a two-seat sports car, dubbed NXG, at next week's Frankfurt motor show. But what's got the electric-car world talking is something the company calls REVive -- a new feature purported to allow a driver who finds himself with insufficient battery charge to get an "instant remote recharge."
Could Reva be ready to roll out an inductive recharging system that would work over the course of miles instead of just a tabletop? (And is Japan involved?)
Gordon Murray may have been responsible for some of the most highly prized race cars and one legendary sports car, but his latest trick will be far more fuel-efficient, with space enough for a threesome
Auto racing wonks know Gordon Murray as a designer of winning Formula One cars, who also happened to devise one of the fastest sports cars of the past 20 years -- the McLaren F1. But as we've mentioned, Murray's been spending most of his time lately on slower pursuits; in particular, a fuel-efficient city car. New details on that car, named T.25, came to light today, as Gordon Murray Design revealed a striking new seating layout.
It's been the talk of the hybrid-car crowd since the first hybrids landed in dealerships: The plug-in Prius. And with GM's plug-in Volt set for a 2010 launch, all eyes are now on Toyota. This week the company offered its first tangible evidence of a plug-in Prius, at least in two dimensions. The company released the first official photo image of a new Prius concept car that can get juice from the electrical grid.
The wind tunnel is an invaluable tool for designing cars that can slice through the air with a minimum of drag. But a team of researchers in the UK are gleaning new aerodynamic insight from a more revealing medium: soap bubbles. Engineers at automotive research consultancy Mira rigged a system of motion-tracking cameras to track the movement of tiny, helium-filled soap bubbles as they swirl around a subject vehicle, capturing its airflow profile in more detail than a wind tunnel ever could.
Just like its counterparts at Honda and GM who've announced they'll produce hydrogen fuel-cell cars, Mercedes-Benz hopes the whole "if you build it" thing doesn't just apply to Shoeless Joe Jackson. Mercedes announced today the company will build a hydrogen-fueled version of its European B-Class hatchback called the F-Cell for the US and Europe. It'll arrive by early 2010, far ahead of the massive hydrogen infrastructure the company acknowledges will be required for wide adoption of such cars.
BMW's new experimental vehicle may get 63 miles on a gallon of diesel and can travel 31 miles in all-electric mode, but it also scores in the performance realm -- with a zero-to-60-mph time in the de rigueur modern sports-car range of under five seconds.
Fans of progressive auto design will likely cock an eye at its posturing curves and layered surfaces, but the big story is the Vision's plug-in hybrid drive system, which pairs two electric motors with a 1.5-liter, three-cylinder turbodiesel engine, together producing 356 horsepower.